One of my goals besides engaging in travel adventures is to spend quality time with my kids. Since they have grown into fabulous young men who are not living with me most of the time, they are both away at school, I need to think creatively.
Gotta hang out with Mom on a road trip I decided! All those hours in the car. Oh, the conversations and memories we will make. I know. I get carried away with expectations sometimes, but you never know…
One of my sons goes to college in Mississippi. It is about a 22 hour drive back to New York depending if you hit traffic, or this week, snow. I decided to fly to Nashville, Tennessee and meet him. I would take turns driving home with him and visit the Country Music capital of America.
Maybe even listen to some music.
A friend drove me to LaGuardia airport on the Saturday morning that many airlines were planned to switch terminals. LaGuardia airport is currently undergoing major renovations and should be avoided. However, since I didn’t have to park or check luggage the process was relatively quick. The lines at Southwest for domestic travel were quick and I was able to relax with a Bloody Mary as I watched the snow begin to fall on the runways. Fortunately my direct flight left on time to Nashville, a 2 hour and 15 minute flight.
I slept for most of the flight. When I turned on my phone I received a message saying my son was stuck in Tennessee traffic and would be late. No worries. As I stepped into the Nashville airport I was greeted by the sound of live music. I strolled up to the bar, ordered some fried chicken and a beer and enjoyed the young musician.
The airport is only a 10 minute drive to the easily accessible downtown Nashville. After making more than a few mistakes, I have learned to pick hotels that are close to the places I want to see. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Broadway just a few blocks from the Bridgestone Arena and main strip.
I had used Southwest Airlines miles for my flight and I used American Airlines miles to help pay for the hotel. With all my super savings, I did splurge on 2 tickets in the nosebleed section of the Bridgestone Arena to see Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.
We had a few hours before the show so after checking in I changed into my Sundance fringed jeans and cowboy boots and we headed towards the strip. I am finally learning how to dress in the south. One time when I felt inappropriately dressed in Mississippi.
We didn’t make it too far because once we hit the hotel lobby we noticed there was live music and a complimentary happy hour of pulled pork, rolls, macaroni and cheese, cheese and crackers, a veggie platter and some cucumber infused water. Awesome and free so had a bite to eat.
Next stop was the Wild Horse Saloon for a line dancing lesson. I had heard about this and thought for sure my kid would love this. Not so much. After they used a large marker to write huge W’s on each of his hands because he is only 20 years old I think he may have been turned off, but the wings were good.
I bravely snuck into the middle of the crowd on the dance floor and sort of got the hang of the line dance.
After that the stage was taken over by a female country singer. She was good but I was surprised that she stopped to talk after each song. That seems to be a thing.
Next we headed to the Arena for the big show. There were 2 warm up singers. We both liked Mitch Rossell. His song about his dad and his son was very touching.
Garth Brooks seemed to enjoy the excited crowd and full house. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t know all the words to his songs. It was evident that most of the people in the arena could sing along.
The concert let out at around 11:00 pm on Saturday night. The streets were packed with people. Many of the partiers were dressed like Santa. That was a thing the night we were there.
Bar after bar on Broadway featured live music. Even the homeless on the streets had guitars and could play. Checking I.D.s was clear at the entrance to each establishment. We were able to get a cheeseburger in Paradise at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. Of course there was live music inside and several Santas having a good time dancing.
Hearing some love songs and seeing all the great music made me think of Mike. He had been to Memphis and enjoyed the music scene there. This place he would have loved. He wouldn’t have line danced with me but he would have humored me. He would have loved checking out all the music in the small bars, but I would never have gotten him to agree to a Garth Brooks concert.
After a complimentary breakfast I took a brisk walking tour of the strip. It was a ghost town. I guess everyone was in church.
Since I am always drawn to water, I headed toward the river. I had fun taking photos along my walk.
Most places were closed but then I saw a store that was open. The boots in the window lured me in. I saw a blingy pair of turquoise boots that I just had to try on. They were fun to wear, for about a minute. I’m grateful I didn’t buy them. I have one pair. That’s all I need.
We headed out mid morning. Clear skies followed us through Tennessee and Virginia and we stopped to rest for the night at a motel along Highway 81 in Maryland.
My heart aches as I recall taking this trip 29 months ago with my husband and son after we visited the college. I wasn’t too thrilled with him going to school so far away but they insisted it was a good idea.
If we give our children wings, they just may fly. He is planning to study abroad this Spring. Maybe he will welcome a visit from Mom. Oh the adventures we can have!!